Monday, 4 June 2012

Walsall Leather Museum

Walsall is renowned for its fine quality saddles and leather goods. The Walsall Leather Museum attempts to demonstrate this tradition and features a live working examples of tanning and the production of leather in the region. Actual crafsmen who are skilled leather workers make wallets and various leather goods as you watch. The story of leather unfolds as you walk round the museum.

Walsall is the leather goods capital of Britain with ninety companies (three of them Royal Warrant holders) producing riding equipment and high quality gift items such as purses, belts and handbags. HM Queen Elizabeth II is known to favour Walsall produced leather handbags, and the Royal Household places regular orders for saddlery from Warrant Holders such as 'Jabez Cliff & Co' (founded 1873).

Walsall Leather Museum, in Littleton Street, celebrates this tradition and the associated industry it has spawned in bits, buckles and saddletrees. Despite suffering a severe blow in the recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Walsall's leather industry is fighting back and continues to flourish as a testament to quality and a worldwide reputation for first class leather goods.

Representations from these companies can be seen at the annual BETA Exhibtion at the NEC and Walsall has traditionally had its own Pavilion.

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